About six weeks or so ago I considered writing a piece about whether we should assume a point has passed where we’re never going to be back in the ‘big time’ again, and just accept some sort of joyous mediocrity – something like yo-yo club at best.

I even took the pains of contacting fans of our beloved Sheffield neighbours on the same subject, but as it turns out they hadn’t abandoned dreams of the top at all. All in all, it seemed like I was ploughing a silly little lone furrow of resigned negativity. Coincidentally, we were doing much worse then.

But recent events mean I’m coming back round again – I’m starting to think that maybe we should amicably give up on a return to the ‘EPL’, as it’s known to its prime marketing audiences.

Now, this is not because we’re not capable of making it there, oh no (the generally tosh nature of Championship opposition and the actually-not-that-badness of LUFC has been covered in Mangles previous), but because I’m coming round to the opinion that, much like guy who dumps his better-looking girlfriend just as she’s starting to feel she could do better, the Football League should turn the super league debate on its head by announcing its disaffiliation from the top tier.

I find agreeing with Shaun Harvey’s views and then taking them even further a hard thing to stomach or even compute, but it’s way past the point of fair comment to suggest that the Premier League are perhaps a bunch of overinflated despots plundering the greater mass of teams for the continued rude health of their own profit margins and egos. And yes, I’m more than prepared for the ‘bitter Leeds fan’ barrage from opposition trolls.

That no relegation thing was bad enough – but as totally believable as it was, it lacked Venky’s, I mean ‘foreign team owners’, actually coming out and nailing their w*nky colours to the mast.

It was the flagrant blackmail that led to the abolishment of the youth tribunal system last week that marked the point of no return. It’s as if the Premier League only just realised there was one quite fair rule still left in the statute book and felt impelled to clamp down on such unbridled freedoms.

The Championship is the fourth most-watched league in Europe. Secession by the Football League, whilst they have the likes of LUFC, the Sheffields, Forest, Leicester, Birmingham, West Ham et al on their books, and the Premier League has, well, a load of poorly-supported and/ or goal music-playing drudge-meisters on theirs, could be a cunning move.

Of course some of the above, perhaps even us, could be back in the ‘promised land’ by the time any such move could legally and structurally take effect – but there’d be plenty of sizeable sides still around. From a purely cynical ‘brand strength’ point of view they’d have a strong hand. F*** it, they should invite Celtic, Rangers, and a couple from Ireland along for the ride too.

But assuming we’d be part of the rebellion, what about the points deductions that our potential allies in rebellion gleefully dished out to us? No way we’re putting it all behind us, naturally. But what good league system doesn’t feature elements of rumbling bitterness?

Sky Sports would have you believe there were no good old-fashioned bad blood outside the opinion pool of Gary Neville – but there’s plenty of the soap opera angst everywhere. Sure, far more Football League outfits hate us than we ourselves can be bothered to hate, but that’s just life as we know it.

All we need to be united with the rest on is the view that with the Premier League sitting in the executioner’s position, sustaining a relationship with the hangman is just not healthy.

Yep, that’s right; a piece not so much about LUFC directly but the state of football in general – just putting it out there. You can begin vitriolic critique after just one more paragraph.

I would also concede that it’s almost certainly not actually going to happen. The desperate suckling of the League onto the ever-drying Premier League teat of prawn-scented sustenance will likely continue until it falls off, but I can’t help feeling we could be key players in a beautiful breakaway, if the men in charge would only show a little imagination.

19 Responses

  1. Matt

    Pretty lazy article. It’s like you had an idea, forgot what it was, then decided to try and write about it anyway.

    If Leeds get promoted, all the fans will come out of the woodwork, Bates will sell to some Arabs and we’ll be the new Man City, only better. So let’s go…

  2. Rex Allott

    Couldn’t agree more.

    The EPL is absolutely hateful, full of moronic, self-centred multi-millionaires behaving like spoiled 2-year olds.

    It’s amazingly over-hyped and actually not that good. I watch MOTD occasionally with minor interest, because it’s quite boring.

    Remember when we used to laugh at Scottish football as a 2-horse race. How many teams can win the EPL? 3?

    Until we do something about the obscene amount of money sloshing about, football will never get back to it’s roots as the working man’s game, and that ‘hard, but fair’mentality.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want LUFC to be the best. I can’t remember feeling much better than that Sunday evening when we cliched the First Division Championship and condemned The Scum to another heartbreak; but realistically, what could we expect if we were promoted? Slugging it out with Stoke and Everton for a place in The Europa League – wow!

    I like The Championship, it’s good honest football. Tell the EPL to F.off to planet Corporate Entertainment and leave English football to the real fans.

  3. Rex Allott

    On the Arab comment.

    I don’t want the club I have laid awake, worrying about for 40 years to be the plaything for some billionaire foreigner with whom I have nothing in common.

  4. Gryff

    Because of what Matt said about Arabs and that I’d probably prefer we never made it to the big time. If Bates would stop trying to sneakily up income from fans (in about as subtle a way as New Labour) then I wouldn’t even mind him – last of the greedy capitalist imperialists or not.

    I’ve got to admit a part of me would love a breakaway FL with clubs like Leeds, the Sheffields, etc. with the capability to be perfectly good clubs, but how many clubs are going to see the opportunity to join an FA affiliated league and turn it down? Splitting from the FA would simply be admitting your club will never be worth £100million and that you’ll never be able to bathe in champaigne off its gates income. No chairman would do that.

  5. RickHx

    We won’t need to break away soon, because with the top 3 or 4 clubs becoming richer and more and more untouchable, there is only one way things are going, and thats a european league for the super rich, taking all the TV money and hopefully leaving the english game back in the real world

  6. oldschoolbaby

    Isn`t this a 2 way thing ? Wouldn`t a closed shop, money making PL jamboree want Leeds, Brum and a Sheffield club rather than Wigan, Blackburn, Bolton, Norwich etc.

    There is a bigger picture. The Greeks have just been offered a 50% write off of their debts and the cheeky fuckers have gone away to think about it. The banks are rattled and looking to everyone they`ve lent huge sums of money for reassurance. That`s why the scum are looking to sell their arse to the Singapore stock market. That`s why the scouse bastards are shitting themselves ( I suspect it`s them behind the closed shop agitation on top of their plans to unilaterally sell TV rights )

    The football tree is being shaken and it will be interesting to see what falls out. Now is not the time to be thinking of breakaway leagues. When the mud settles the picture could well be vastly different

    BTW if Bates is being truthful, for once, and we don`t owe the banks anything. That`s something to be grateful for.

    • TSS

      Wouldn’t rule Norwich out of that mix – as much as I hate to admit it, they have a decent following.

  7. JonnyBee

    Hmmm very interesting. That thing the other week where the foreign owners of Prem clubs proposed an end to promotion and relegation to/from the Prem made me so mad. It made me think ‘F##K OFF back to ur own country’, and I’m not racist, but it made my blood boil. And with the new rules re: youth development and selling players from league teams academies’ to prem teams, I am disgusted by the behaviour of the ‘bigger’ teams. And I’m glad in some ways that we, LUFC, are actually fighting the just cause by not being part of that Premier League Corporation. We all love football, its the one thing that unites fans from every team (except Manure ‘fans’, who aren’t really football fans), but football is in danger of going down the pan, and its the mega rich foreign businessmen turned chairmen who are ruining it. The fact we aint part of that yet is something to be grateful for.

  8. chareose

    Ive had the same thoughts but the bigger issue would be recognition from UEFA or FIFA so that the new leagues successful teams could compete in european tournements……

    The problem being that Uefa and Fifa are a bunch of ball washing money laundering XXXXX that would sell their own mothers for money so its likely that theyd support the premier league and would be unlikely to let multiple teams from the UK enter the same tournaments from both Leagues……

    In short, you’d need a Richard Branson type to be leading it, pushing buttons and throwing money about for it to work.

  9. number1inyorkshire

    there are some clubs that just should not be in the premier league you know who they are without naming them .

    A European league will become reality but with that comes no relegation ,promotion it will be a closed shop .

    for me when we get back to the premier league will be my retirement from actually going to elland road to watch leeds .

    i was going to retire when we were still in there but kept going since relegation so that the big time charlies had no ammo to throw my way but when we get back there thats it ..

    The reason well big game charlies for 1 ,secondly ken bates will become mega rich ,but not with my dosh and thirdly if it is in another couple of years i will have done 30 + years thats enough i will find something else to do ..

    my 3 sons and their families can carry on .for me the premier league isn,t the be all and end all in fact i will hate the day we get back their ,it is to me all thats wrong in football players on 250 grand a week etc etc so lets stay where we are and save me from shopping with the wife lol ..

    • Colin

      Number 1 – I want to challenge you. And I’m going to annoy you. I don’t think you will stop supporting Leeds and stop going to the games.

      You’ve made the best comments on this article.

      I know football is all about money, and it’s ridiculous money, but you put up with a lot worse:

      British Gas charge you more despite the price of gas going down.

      You still bank with banks that YOU own, despite the fact that they messed up.

      You pay ridiculous amounts of tax on fuel every time you fill your car.

      You pay 10% higher train ticket fares year on year despite sitting on the same train on the same track.

      I could go on, but you get my point.

      I don’t see the difference between paying Viduka (then) £50,000 a week at Leeds and City paying David Silva £200,000 a week now. That’s the way it is. We get screwed financially in life and football’s part of that.

      If you still have a reason for leaving not just Leeds, but football which you obviously love (and you show a damn sight more commitment than I do with your 30+ year attendance), then you should not be posting a comment on this blog, you should be writing a book.

      And I promise you, I’d read it with a passion. You should be calling the 606 phone in and giving your views. I’m not a million miles away from your thinking by the way, but if you can give that up, then you’ve got a story to tell and I want to hear it.

      If someone with 30 years commitment is willing to walk away, then there’s a story behind it. I want to hear it!!

      • number1inyorkshire

        colin i will not stop supporting leeds and i will go to odd games but that will be it for season tickets .
        it has been difficult not financially but time wise for the last 15 years i have run a pub and as a man of many talents run a successful photography business as well ,now as we are not getting any younger i have to do some saving for the future so Saturdays can be spent doing more in the photography line .

        don,t get me wrong i hope its a few more years yet well a couple but the promised land isn,t so for me anymore .

        so i feel it will be a good time to retire from full time watching leeds after 30+ years it will be hard ..

        But no one can say i did it when we were relegated in div 1

      • number1inyorkshire

        just thought i would also add 2 world cups 2 European championships ,3 if you include England .England games .taking 3 sons to play football ,i was refereeing sunday football too at 1 point ,and just going to watch footy if i got chance ,you haven,t lived if you haven,t watched morecambe play notts county at he old morecambe ground dodging seagulls and what they can do .so i could write a book and who could forget the champions league stuff too ,if i was race horse i would be put out to pasture or down lol so i have done my bit .

  10. mattbb1

    two words – sour grapes…

    Revie must be turning in his grave.Nothing worth having in life is easy to achieve. The team, the fans, the city need to get behind the club, kick out bates, and get ourselves back where we belong. I havent given up, neither should anyone – really we arent worthy of booting a wigan or a fulham out of the top flight and giving the big boys a run for the money – you know we can.

  11. Colin

    Football is football is football.

    They said changing from 2 points for a win to 3 would kill football.

    They said the Champions League would kill English football.

    They said that the Premier League would kill football.

    They said Sky and Pay-Per-View would kill football.

    It hasn’t.

    We still have 4 leagues of professional English teams and it works. Even clubs in dire straights make it through. We’re one of them. Football works.

    A Super League (or a breakaway league) will never work for one simple reason – you need losers to have winners. No-one wants to be in a special league, because one of the special teams will turn from being ‘special’ to being a nobody, because they’re going to be beaten badly and lose.

    In the Premier League you need your poor teams, to make the good teams ‘good’.

    Does the current model work? Yes. You’ve got 2nd place Man Utd getting beat 6-1 at home by 1st place Man City. You’ve got a ‘destroyed’ Arsenal coming back within weeks to destroy Chelsea. You’ve got a recently promoted team, Newcastle sitting in 3rd place and deservedly so.

    Why would any club not want to be a part of that?

    And as for a breakaway with Leeds in it – why would anyone want to join us? The only reason Leeds would be invited to the party would be if they thought that we could be their whipping boys and beaten game in game out (which is no fun). And the only teams we would invite would be teams that we felt could be our whipping boys.

    It makes no sense on no levels.

  12. number1inyorkshire



    • Jay

      Well said No1inyorkshire,very brave lad to play only a short time after the death of his son,saw it on the news and it brought a tear to the eye.


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